Page images
PDF
EPUB

And than within shorte tyme after, by began to move; whereof the monkes the purveyaunce of our Lorde Jesu, were aferde, and fledde anone to the they came to the abbey where saynt shyppe, and lefte the fyre and n eet beBrandon dwelled, and than he with his hynde them, and mervayled sore of the bretherne receyved them goodly, and movyng. And saynt Brandon comforted deruaunded where they had ben so them, and sayd that it was a grete fisshe longe ; and they sayd, “We have ben named Jasconye, whiche laboureth nyght in the Londe of Byheest, to-fore the and daye to put his tayle in his mouth, gates of Paradyse, where as is ever daye, but for gretnes he may not. And than and never night." And they sayd all anone they sayled west thre dayes and that the place is full delectable, for yet thre nyghtes or they sawe ony londe, all theyr clothes smelled of the swete wherfore they were ryght hevy. But and joyfull place. And than saynt Bran- soone after, as God wold, they sawe a don purposed soone after for to seke that fayre ylonde, full of floures, herbes, and place by Goddes helpe, and anone began trees, wherof they thanked God of his to purvey for a good shyppe, and a good grace, and anone they went on stronge, and vytaylled it for vij. yere ; londe. And whan they had gone longe and than he toke his leve of all his in this, they founde a full fayre well, and bretherne, and toke xij. monkes with therby stode a fayre tree, full of bowes, him. But or they entred into the shyppe and on every bough sate a fayre byrde, they fasted xl. dayes, and lyved devoutly, and they sate so thycke on the tree that and eche of them receyved the sacra- unneth ony lese of the tree myght be ment. And whan saynt Brandon with seen, the nombre of them was so grete, his xij. monkes were entred into the and they songe so meryly that it was an shyppe, there came other two of his hevenly noyse to here.' 'Wherfore saynt monkes

, and prayed hym that they Brandon kneled down on his knees, and myght sayle with hym. And than he wepte for joye, and made his prayers sayd, “Ye may sayle with me, but one devoutly unto our Lord God to knowe of

you shall go to hell, or ye come what these byrdes ment. And than agayn." But not for that they wold go anone one of the byrdes fledde fro the

tree to saynt Brandon, and he with And than saynt Brandon badde the flykerynge of his wynges made a full shypmen to wynde up the sayle, and mery noyse lyke a fydle, that hym semed forth they sayled in Goddes name, so that he herde never so joyfull a melodye. on the morow they were out of syght of And than saynt Brandon commaunded ony londe ; and xl. dayes and xl. nightes the byrde to tell hym the cause why they after they sayled playn eest, and than sate so thycke on the tree, and sange so they sawe an ylonde ferre fro them, and meryly. And than the byrde says, they sayled thyder-warde as fast as they "Somtyme we were aungels in heven, coude, and they sawe a grete roche of but whan our mayster Lucyfer fell down stone appere above all the water, and into hell for his hygh pryde, we fell with thre dayes they sayled aboute it or they hym for our offences, some hyther, and coude gete in to the place. But at the some lower, after the qualyté of theyr last, by the purveyaunce of God, they trespace; and bycause our trespace is founde'a lytell haven, and there went a. but lytell, therfore our Lorde hath set us londe everychone. .

here out of all pyane in full grete joye And than they sayled forth, and came and myrth, after his pleasynge, here to soone after to that lond; but bycause of serve hym on this tree in the best maner lytell depthe in some place, and in some that we can. The Sonday is a day of place were grete rockes, but at the last rest fro all worldly occupacyon, and, they wente upon an ylonde, wenynge to therfore, that daye all we be made as them they had ben safe, and made ther. whyte as ony snow, for to prayse our on a fyre for to dresse theyr dyner, but Lorde in the best wyse we may.' And saynt Brandon abode styll in the shyppe. than this byrde sayd to saynt Brandon, And whan the fyre was ryght hote, and “It is xij. monethes pasi that ye dethe meet nygh soden, than this ylonde parted fro your abbey, and in the vij.

with hym.

[graphic]

yere hereafter ye shall se the place that | dredefull place or they came tome se desyre to come, and all this vij. yere agayne. And than came the south wynde ye shal kepe your Eester here with us and drove them ferther into the north, every yere, and in the ende of the vij. where they sawe an hyll all on fyre, and yere ye shal come into the Londe of a foule smoke and stenche comyng from Byhcst. And this was on Eester daye thens, and the fyre stode on eche syde of that the byrde sayd these wordes to the hyll lyke a wall all brennynge. saynt Brandon. And than this fowle And than one of his monkes began to fewe agayn to his felawes that sate on crye and wepe ful sore, and sayd that the tree. And than all the byrdes be- his ende was comen, and that he might gan to synge evensonge so meryly, that abyde no lenger in the shyppe, and it was an hevenly noyse to here ; and anone he lepte out of the shyppe into aster souper saynt Brandon and his fel. the see, and than he cryed and rored full awes wente to bedde, and slepte well, pyteously, cursynge the tyme that he and on the morowe they arose betymes, was borne, and also sader and moder and than those byrdes began matyns, that bygate him, bycause they sawe no pryme, and houres, and all suche service better to his correccyon in his yonge as Chrysten men use to synge..

age, "for now I must go to perpetual And seven dayes they sayled alwaye payne.” And than the sa yenge of saynt in that clere water. And than there Brandon was veryfyed that he sayd to came a south wynde and drove the hym whan he entred into the shyppe. shyppe north-warde, where as they sawe Therfore it is good a man to do penaunce an ylonde full derke and full of stenche and sorsake synne, for the houre of deth and smoke ; and there they herde grete is incertayne. blowynge and blastyng of belowes, but And than anone the wynde turneå they myght se no thynge, but herde into the north, and drove the shyppe grete thondrynge, whereof they were into the south, whiche sayled vij. dayes sore aferde and blyssed them ofte. And contynually; and they came to a grete soone after there came one stertynge out rocke standynge in the see, and theron all brennynge in fyre, and stared full sate a naked man in full grete mysery gastly on them with grete staryng eyen, and payne ; for the waves of the see of whome the monkes were agast, and at had so beten his body that all the flesshe his departyng from them he made the was gone off, and nothynge lefte but horryblest crye that myght be herde. synewes and bare bones. And whan And soone there come a grete nombre the wawes were gone, there was a canvas of fendes and assayled them with hokes that henge over his heed whiche bette his and brennynge yren malles, whiche ranne body full sore with the blowynge of the on the water, folowyng fast theyr wynde ; and also there were two oxe shyppe, in suche wyse that it semed all tongues and a grete stone that he sate

he see to be on a fyre ; but by the wyll on, whiche dyd hym full grete ease. of God they had no power to hurte ne to And than saynt Brandon charged hym to greve them, ne theyr shyppe. Wher. tell hym what he was. And he sayd, fore the fendes began to rore and crye, My name is Judas, that solde our and threwe theyr hokes and malles at Lorde Jesu Chryst for xxx. pens, whiche them. And they than were sore aferde, sytteth here moche wretchedly, how be and prayed to God for comforte and it I am worthy to be in the gretest payne helpe; for they sawe the fendes all that is; but our Lorde is so mercyfull about the shyppe, and them semed that that he hath rewarded me better than 1 all the ylonde and the see to be on a have deserved, for of ryght my place is fyre. . And with a sorowfull crye all in the brennynge hell; but I am here the fendes departed fro them and re- but certayne tymes of the yere, that is turned to the place that they came fro. fro Chrystmasse to twelfth daye, and fro And than sayni Brandon tolde to them Eester tyll Whytsontyde be past, and that this was a parte of hell, and ther- every feestfull daye of our lady, and fore he charged them to be stedfast in every Saterdaye at noone tyll Sonday the layth, for they shold yet se many al that evensonge be done ; but all other

[graphic]
[graphic]

Those men saw I who much had given according to God's laws; clear candles were over their heads burnmg brightly.

Many men saw I wounded go in the ways strewed with hot cinders; their faces seemed to me all to be red with smoking blood. Many men saw I go on the ground who had been unable to obtain the Lord's

meal ; heathen stars stood over their heads, painted with fearful characters. Those men saw I, who cherish much envy at other's fortune; bloody runes were on their breasts marked painfully. Men saw I there many, without joy, who all wandered pathless : that he purchases for himself, who of this world is infatuated with the vices.

Those men saw I, who magnanimously. improved the condition o the poot. angels read the holy books over their heads. Those men saw I, who had much their body lean with fasting God's angels bowed before all these ; that is the greatest pleasure. Those men saw I, who to their mother had put food in the mouth ; their resting places were in the beams of heaven placed agreeably. Holy virgins ha! purely washed the soul of sins, of those men who many a day punish themselves,

Lofty cars I saw go midst heaven, which had the roads to God; men guide them who were slain entirely without fault.

Those men saw I, who in many ways laid their hands on otheı's property ; they went in flocks to Fegiara's (Satan's) city, and had burthens of lead.' Those men saw I, who many had deprived of money and lise ; through their breasts suddenly pierced strong venomous dragons. Those men saw I, who would not keep holy days; their hands were on hot stones nailed tight. Those men saw I, who in much pride magnified themselves too much ; their garments were in derision with fire surrounded.

O mighty Father, most great Son, Holy Ghost of heaven, I pray thee to save (who didst create us all from miseries !

Those men saw I, who had many words against another lied: hell's ravens out of their heads cruelly tore their eyes. All the horrors you cannot know which the hell-goers have. Sweet sins go to cruel recompenses ; ever cometh moan after pleasure.

ANGLO-SAXON DESCRIPTION

OF PARADISE. From "The Phoenix," a Paraphrase of the Cam

men de Phænice, ascribed tu Lactantius
Codex Exoniensis. Tr. by B. Thorpe, p. 197.

I have heard tell,
that there is far hence
in eastern parts
a land most noble,
amongst men renowned.
That tract of earth is not
over mid-earth
fellow to many
peopled lands;
but it is withdrawn
through the Creator's might
from wicked doers,

ANGLO-SAXON DESCRIPTION OF PARADISE.

245

Beauteous is all the plain, with delights blessed, with the sweetest oferth's odours: unique is that island, Doble the Maker, lofty, in powers abounding, who the land founded. There is oft open towards the happy, unclosed, (delight of sounds 9 heaven-kingdom's door, That is a pleasant plain, green wolds, spacious under heaven; there may not rain nor snow, Borrage or frost, bor hre's blast, Dor fall of hail, nor descent of rime, nor heat of sun, DC perpetual cold, not warm weather, Dor winter shower, aught injure; but the plain rests happy and healthful. That noble land is with blossoms flowered : for hills nor mountains there stand steep, nor stony cliffs tower high, as here with us ; nor dells nor dales, Dor mountain-caves, risings nor hilly chains; por thereon rests aught unsmooth, but the noble field flourishes under the skies with delights blooming. That glorious land is higher by twelve fold of fathom measure, (as us the skilful have informed, sages through wisdom in writings show,) than any of those hills that brightly here with us tower high, under the stars of heaven. Serene is the glorious plain, the sunny bower glitters, the woody holt, joyously ; the fruits fall not, the bright products, but the trees ever stand green, as them God hath commanded ; in winter and in summer the forest is alike hung with fruits, never fade the leaves in air, nor will flame them injure, ever throughout ages, ere that an end to the world shall be. What time of old the water's mass all mid-earth, the sea-Alsod decked

the earth's circumference, then the noble plain in all ways secure against the billowy course stood preserved, of the rough waves, happy, inviolate, through God's favour : it shall abide thus blooming, until the coming of the fire of the Lord's doom, when the death-houses, men's dark chambers, shall be opened. There is not in that land hateful enmity, nor wail nor vengeance, evil-token none, old age nor misery, nor the narrow death, nor loss of life, nor coming of enemy, nor sin nor strife, nor painful exile, nor poor one's toil, nor desire of wealth, nor care nor sleep, nor grievous sickness, nor winter's darts, nor dread of tempests rough under heaven, nor the hard frost with cold chill icicles striketh any There nor hail nor rime on the land descend, nor windy cloud, nor there water falls agitated in air, but there liquid streams wonderously curious, wells spring forth with fair bubblings from earth! o'er the soil glide pleasant waters from the wood's midst ; there each month from the turf of earth sea-cold they burst, all the grove pervade at times abundantly. It is God's behest, that twelve times the glorious land sports over the joy of water-foods. The groves are with produce hung, with beauteous fruits ; there wane not holy under heaven the holt's decorations, nor fall there on earth the fallow blossoms, beauty of forest-trees, but there wonderously on the trees ever the laden branches, the renovated fruit, at all times on the grassy plain stand green,

[graphic]
« PreviousContinue »